Black Tie Dinner officials confirmed today (Wednesday, Nov. 11) that Houston Mayor Annise Parker will be a featured guest speaker at the 2015 fundraising dinner on Saturday, Nov. 14.
Parker is completing her third and final term as mayor of Houston, and is one of only two women to have held Houston’s highest elected office. When she was first elected mayor in 2009, Parker made headlines around the world as the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, and Houston became the most populous U.S. city to have elected a lesbian to its top public office.
As she finishes her third term — the Houston mayor’s office has a three-term limit — Parker saw the city’s equal rights ordinance, adopted by the council, forced into a referendum where it was voted down by city residents last week following a vitriolic anti-transgender campaign by opponents, who claimed the ordinance would allow men to harass and attack women and girls in public restrooms.
“This was a campaign of fear-mongering and deliberate lies. No one’s rights should be subject to a popular vote,” Parker said following the vote. “This will have stained Houston’s reputation as a tolerant, welcoming global city. I absolutely fear there will be a direct economic backlash.”
Dallas Black Tie officials noted that Parker and her wife, Kathy Hubbard, will be joined at the event by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlins.
In a statement issued today, Black Tie Co-Chair Mitzi Lemons said, “We are excited and honored to have both Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlins and Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her wife attend this year’s event”. Support from city leaders is vital to our community.”
Black Tie Dinner co-chair John Lawrimore added, “Mayor Parker’s message, especially in light of the results from last week’s election results in Houston, we know will help further ignite the passion in all of us to continue our fight for equality.”
The 2015 Black Tie Dinner, with a theme of Ignite The Night, happens Saturday night, Nov. 14, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. A limited number of individual tickets are still available through the Black Tie Dinner website, but no additional tickets will be sold after midnight Friday, Nov. 13.
The Black Tie Dinner Preview Party takes place Friday, 8-10 p.m.. at the hotel, and is open to the public. Those attending have a chance to see silent auction items and place bids on those items.